Soju, Maekju, Somaek & Cojinganmek!

Gosh, only three blog posts in the November month for me! Whatever happened to the blogger who used to blog practically everyday, and sometimes, more than once a day?

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Yea, back when I used to blog, I blogged really ferociously. So prolific I was that there were even days when I churned out three to five posts in a single day.

Beats me where I found so much stuff to rant and ramble about. (And the energy! What fueled me, man?!!) Haha, maybe age has indeed found out where I live and caught up. Or, maybe I just ain’t as sensitive about things no more. Or, maybe there’re so so so many content creators these days I don’t even have time to consume all the reading that I wanna, let alone churn my own contents.

It’s almost strange how we now enjoy such advanced technology and progress that productivity has improved in LTE speed, and yet many of us don’t find ourselves with any more free time and ‘me‘ time.


Read this rather interesting article on WHY THE THREE-HOUR WORK DAYS HAVEN’T HAPPENED YET. I think point 3 is super valid, that there’s no limit to human desires, which I also link to the FOMO syndrome.


And oh, instant messaging apps, social media platforms, etc etc etc, definitely ain’t helping at all. Everything and in fact everyone, too, are so invisible and everything’s so instantaneous, so online there’s no escaping. Accessibility is enhanced so much that we remain contactable no matter where and when. Everyone is really just a data plan away.

Then I realised that most part of the problem is me.

It is me who sometimes allow myself to work on someone else’s schedule. Just because someone’s email or message comes in at that time does not have to mean that I have to drop everything and attend to the incoming item all the time, ya?

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Always differentiate between what’s important and urgent, and what’s important but not urgent.

Hahahaha, and I’d thought that at this age, I’d already mastered the art of not being bothered when I don’t think I wanna or should be bothered.


Anyway, I digressed… Wanna share a little tidbit before I get on to the blog post proper. I was looking up search strings for this blog just to have a feel of how some people end up here. Here, check this out.

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Interesting… Other than those of you who already ‘know’ me, seems like people have found their way here coz of (korean) food and Song Jae Rim!

Haha, guess they must be pretty disappointed huh? This ain’t a Korean-centric blog or Kdrama or Kpop blog. This is just my personal blog, oopsies!


Anyway, back to what I wanna blog about today! Me gonna yak about soju (소주) and maekju (믹주) today!

I’ve already blogged about MAKGEOLLI previously, so I reckon I should also touch on soju a little.

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Soju is almost like a way of life in Korea. It’s cheap and it’s everywhere. In Korea, there’re some ‘definitive’ products that celebs cover the endorsement contracts for, and the fight to front soju brands is particularly intense. Why? Coz like I’d said soju features very very prominently in the everyday lives of many Koraens.

In fact, I would go so far as to describe soju as Korea’s national liquor. Helps that it’s very cheap (like less than S$2) and available everywhere.

Soju is a clear alcohol traditionally made from rice and typically containing some 20% alcohol by volume. Yea, super potent, so do drink with care. The effects of this particular booze burn rather slowly, and if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself suddenly hit with wooziness.


HOW TO DRINK SOJU

Well, you can just pour it into a shotglass and drink, hehe!

The Koreans appear to have some pretty sticky rules about drinking, and I’d blogged about basic Korean drinking etiquette HERE. But hey, we’re foreigners, so we don’t really have to bother with these things much, it’s really more like knowledge for fun.

But I do like how the Koreans don’t pour their own drinks. Usually the maknae or most junior in rank will keep an active lookout of whose glasses are empty and help to refill. If pouring for or receiving drinks from someone older or more senior than you, use both hands.

Oh, I’ve had someone asked me twice this week alone how the Koreans say ‘cheers‘, as in what do they say when they clink glasses. They say ‘Gun bae‘ (乾杯) or ‘Zzang!’

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ONE SHOT

Sometimes someone at the table may shout ‘One shot!’ and what usually happens next is that everyone will raise their glasses and drink up, all in a single shot. You might even see some turn their glasses upside down above their heads to show that they’ve downed everything.

Yup, their ‘One shot‘ in equivalent to our ‘Bottoms up‘.

And oh, for the immensely curious amongst you, a bottle of soju fills seven and a half shot glasses.


SOMAEK! (SOJU + MAEKJU!)

Although soju is often consumed straight (yea, neat), it is also sometimes used in mixers as the base spirit, as with many clear liquors.

The most common one is to mix soju and beer. Beer is maekju (믹주) in Korean, and when soju and maekju come together, you get so-maek (소맥)

Don’t hold me to it, but it’s been said the golden proportion is 3 parts soju 7 parts beer. That way, you don’t get too much soju until you miss the beer, nor do you drink all beer and there’s no crispy bite of soju.

The easy way to prepare this is to pour soju into a beer glass and then pour the beer and drink up.

But hey, a slightly more fanciful way is to do it this way, with lotsa happy shake ^o^


SOJU BOMB

Now some of you might have heard about soju bombs, or what the Koreans refer to as poktanju (폭탄주). That translates literally into Bomb Drink (ju is alcoholic drink),

This is a variation of maekju where a shotglass of soju is dropped into a glass or mug of beer, like dropping a bomb.


SOJU BOMB TRAIN

Some people also refer to this as the Seoul Train Soju Bomb. Basically, it’s a row or rows or some formation of the soju bomb, but done such that the shot glasses of soju sit on the rim of adjacent glasses of beer and they’re dropped a la the domino effect.

Messy yes, but lotsa fun and excitement, hehe! So, my advice is to do it when you’re outside and not at your own home!


In case you’re wondering where you can order a soju bomb train here in Singapore, you can try BOSS BBQ AT CLARKE QUAY.

Hehe, we tried it once there!

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Or just go to any Korean restaurants and order soju and beer and do your own soju bombs!


COJINGANMEK (COLA + SOJU + BEER)

Wanna share with you something that was introduced to me a couple of years back when we were on the ONGO FOOD TOUR. Yea, I know, I know, we’ve been to Seoul like sooooo many times and yet we decided to join a food tour… Hee, but it was plenty fun!

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First things first, the name.

Literally, Cojinganmek (구징안픽) means sweetness comes at the end of bitterness. Yes, what the Chinese says 苦盡甘來. Should be easy to guess by now that the drink is harsh and tough at first, but ends with a sweet note, ya?

Nice to remind us once in a while that we have to go through the bad things or tough times first, before the good stuff or good news will come.

Here, a superb graphical depiction of Cojinganmek from GELO REYES

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I really really really like this!

It’s basically a mix of one part cola, one part soju and one part beer. Its name is superbly apt for a drink that starts with the rougher taste of somaek, before finishing sweetly with a shot of cola.

imageThere are different ways to prepare this drink, but you will definitely need two shotglasses and one beer glass or mug. My own experience is the smallish beer glass works best.

You can pour a shot of cola first, drop it into the beer glass, then pour soju into the second shot glass and drop it on top of the first soju glass, and then fill the glass with beer.


Or you can do this, I think it’s less fuss this way. Drop the first (empty) shot glass into the beer glass, then pour the cola, and then drop the second (empty) shot glass on top of the first shot glass of cola, then pour the soju, and then finish off by pouring beer into the glass.

Yup, the difference between the two methods is whether you pour the cola and soju into the glasses first before dropping them into the glass. I think the second method is less messy as the drinks won’t splash as much, haha!


If that’s too much for you to read or digest, just watch this clip! And of course, you can substitute the cola with some other sweet carbonated drink.


FRUITY SOJU COCKTAIL

And there’re also the other more slushy or fruity soju cocktails, like yogurt soju, watermelon soju, pineapple soju, apple soju, etc etc etc.

You can try them when you’re in Korea, or hehe, you can also check out CHICKEN UP.


Shall leave you with this mighty impressive and entertaining clip of how one guy does his somaek! And hehe, the part where he popped open the beer bottle cap with the spoon? Ahhh… the long-buried Joongbo feels came rushing back!

MUST WATCH, K?


Makgeolli… Taste of the Moon in a Jar

First things things… I wanna declare


I TOTALLY, COMPLETELY, ABSOLUTELY LOVE MAKGEOLLI!

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There are several variations to romanizing makgeolli, but the most commonly seen ones are makgeolli (which is closest to the original Korean pronunciation), and makkoli, which is more commonly used in Japan.


So what is Makgeolli?

It’s the oldest alcoholic beverage in Korea, made from a mixture of wheat and rice which gives it its signature milky, off-white colour and sweetness. It is made from fermenting this mixture of boiled rice, wheat and water and is about 6-8% alcohol by volume.

Also called ‘takju‘ after its cloudy appearance, makgeolli is made by steaming glutinous rice, barley or wheat with water and the fermentation starter, nuruk. Unlike other traditional clear liquors like soju or cheongju, makgeolli isn’t distilled after fermentation, hence its milky, opaque appearance.

Back in the old days, way before industrialization, makgeolli is really more of a nongju (농주 / 農酒). Translated literally to ‘farm wine’, its origins was farmers’ liquor.

It lost favour in the 1970s, but has UNDERGONE MUCH TRANSFORMATION and is becoming more popular amongst the younger generation in the past decade, especially in more recent years. (Image below lifted from KOREA IT TIMES)

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Some people described Makgeolli as KOREAN RICE WINE, but it’s really more like Korean rice beer if you ask me, hehe!


Health Benefits?!

Yessss! Believe it or not, there are HEALTH BENEFITS to drinking makgeolli! Aside from the alcohol, the bulk of makgeolli is pure nutrition!

Other than the 80% water and 6-8% alcohol, makgeolli consists of 2% protein, 0.8% carbohydrates, 0.1% fat and 10% dietary fiber, along with vitamins B and C, lactobacilli and yeast.

Makgeolli is unfiltered and contains high levels of lactic acid and lactobacillus bacteria (said to be 500 times the level in yogurt!), which may positively affect immune function and slow the aging process. No wonder the ladies love it.

Yup, it in nutshell, makgeolli helps digestion, improves immune function and slows down the ageing process! No kidding!


How to Drink Makgeolli

Well, you can drink it neat (hehe, no ice please!), but remember to give it a good rousing shake if pouring from a bottled draft makgeolli!

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Or you can also add a spritz of Sprite or 7-up into the drink to fizz it up! I love drinking it this way coz it’s like some sweet carbonated alcoholic drink!


Let me just sidetrack a little here… You know how we usually associated cider with apples? You might wanna know that cider doesn’t quite mean the same thing in Korea. I’m not sure why… but I do know that Lotte had launched Chilsung Cider, the first soft drink in Korea, back in 1950. It’s really like our Sprite or 7-Up, sorta a lemon lime soda. And from then on, cider is meant to refer to any lemon lime sode like Chilsung cider, Sprite or 7-Up. Nope, no apples or alcohol involved.


And now back to makgeolli…

Of course, you can also drink use makgeolli as ingredient to a fruit cocktail. Works better with fruits from the citrus family though.

This video is about an outing to a makgeolli bar in Itaewon. In the video, you can see the hosts trying many different kinds of makgeolli, including mango, grape and honey makgeolli!


Best Time for Makgeolli?

Rainy days!

Really! There’s a tradition of drinking makgeolli and eating Korean pancakes when it rains!

Remember I was talking about how makgeolli used to be the farmers’ liquor? So on days when it rained, the farmers could not get to the fields to work, so they would gather to just drink makgeolli, and one of the easiest and cheapest food to prepare was fried pancake. That’s the origin of rainy day cuisine, really!!

And there’s also some talk that the sizzling sound of frying the pancake is not unlike the sound of falling rain, pitter patter pitter patter…

What a lovely notion, ya? Guess I’ve been following the Korean culture long enough to be conditioned to crave for makgeolli and pancakes when it’s raining!

if you haven’t tried it, you should!


More on Korean Pancakes

Jeon‘ (전) is an umbrella term that refers to any (Korean) food made like a pancake. Jeon, or buchimgae (부침개), or jijim (지짐), is made with ingredients (sliced meat, vegetables, seafood) that is first coated in flour or egg (or batter), and then pan-fried in oil.

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I love love love anything made from flour, so you can imagine how much I adore jeon! Here’s where I satisfy my jeon craving in Singapore:

For seafood pancake, I go to Red Pig.
For leek pancake, I go to Kkokkonara.
For kimchi pancake, I go to Wang Daebak.


And of course, all three places serve makgeolli, hee! So now, you know where to go when it rains!

Other than pancakes, some Koreans also like their makgeolli with tofu kimchi. Me too!


Makgeolli Bars in Seoul

I highly recommend at least a visit to the makgeolli bar during your next visit to Korea. I’d only discovered makgeolli bars in the last couple of years, and been beating myself for not starting to go there earlier!

There’s something special about the ambience of makgeolli bars. Perhaps it’s also the sweet lure of the drink (it’s miraculously one of those that can get you drunk if you drink enough, but won’t give you a hangover!) that coaxes the most heartfelt of conversations amongst friends and loved ones. I just adore the entire experience of it all!


And of course, it’s so cheap too! I keep telling friends that it’s even cheaper than drinking coffee at some cafes… so drinking should start earlier in the day, fwahwahwah!

Each jug of makgeolli (flavoured or otherwise) is usually less than 10,000 KRW!! Really!

And the anju (side dishes that accompany the drinking 下酒菜) are usually super yummy! I usually go for the pancake, the tofu kimchi and some diced pork dish. These goes extremely well with makgeolli!

In case you’re actually planning your trip to Seoul as you’re reading this, let me recommend you three makgeolli bars in Seoul!


DANIMGIL, HONGDAE

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ZZANG…! My all-time fave is Danimgil in the Hongdae area. It’s not famous amongst foreigners, so that’s nice, haha!

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Although in Hongdae, it’s actually located on an upper level off the less touristy part of Hongdae. I love the darkly lit place, the cozy tables and omnipresent service. The perfect elements of the quieter type of makgeolli bars which I love love love!

Lord knows how many heart-to-heart girly talks we’ve had here!

Another notable thing about this place is they will serve you a sampler when you’re seated. Something like this, complete with names.

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And do try the half-half Korean pancake that’s uber nice here!

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WOLHYANG, HONGDAE

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I understand that Wolhyang is popular amongst the peeps from the performing arts scene in Seoul, and oh, the Japanese also love this place.

It’s quite a biggish place with two sections, and the menu’s pretty extensive too.

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Yup, also in Hongdae and it’s also ‘upstairs’, hehe! Decor’s colourful and vibrant. Lotsa character and personality, but not overwhelming or intimidating.

Click HERE to check out some fab photos of the Wolhyang.


MOON JAR, APGUJEONG

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Moon Jar actually doesn’t need any more introduction. It’s been around for some time now, and it’s made the rungs of many Must-Visit-Makgeolli-Bars-in-Seoul again and again, year after year. Read more HERE,

One other interesting snippet you might wanna know is that Kpop celebs have also been spotted at this place.

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Housed in a white stand-alone building in the swanky Apgujeong area, Moon Jar is an interesting makgeolli bar in that the compounds is divided into sections, not unlike different rooms in a house. Each section has its own distinct and distinctive concept and flavour. Even if you’re seated on one floor, do go check out the other rooms on your floor and others, ya?

Other than makgeolli, this place also packs a neat pancake!

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I can’t be sure if this happens every winter, but it happened when I visited Moon Jar one winter. The staff was roasting sweet potatoes in open fire and they gave these super yummylicious sweet potatoes to the patrons! Woohoo!

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I think the Koreans normally already love sweet potato if their sweet potato latte is anything to go by. Sweet potatoes (or what they call goguma) is very much an essential snack in the wintertime. The Koreans refer to these roasted sweet potatoes goon goguma.


If you’re keen to find out more about the makgeolli bars in Seoul, you can also check out MMPKOREA, This blog is run by a group of people who love makgeolli and would share reviews of makgeolli and makgeolli bars. I think they organize meet-ups at makgeolli bars too.


Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this very informative and fairly interesting video on makgeolli. Watch!


Red Pig… Same but Different?

Remember I’d blogged about RED PIG?

Yea, that’s one of my fave Korean BBQ restaurants in Singapore for many years. Even as other people were raving about SUPERSTAR K and WANG DAEBAK, I still found myself going back to Red Pig.


Some weeks back, a friend who used to work part-time at Wang Daebak told us she heard that the lady boss running Red Pig had returned to Korea with her family, and that Red Pig was sold to the peeps at Wang Daebak. You can check out Wang Daebak’s Facebook page HERE.

The news came suddenly. I definitely didn’t see it coming at all, and the lady boss didn’t say anything about it the last time we were there. But then again, my last meal there was way way way back in July. Haven’t been there much after starting on my new job.

And boy, do I regret not going there! Would have been super-nice if we had at least had a chance to say goodbye to the lady boss.

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Since then, I kept wondering if Red Pig managed to keep its own look and menu, or if its new owner Wang Daebak had converted it to Wang Daebak.

Finally made my way to that oh-so-familiar address at Amoy Street last night. What a rainy night it was too! (Haha, kindda adds to the drama… 有一點點小悲壯的感覺~)

It was raining hippos and dinosaurs when I got off at Tanjong Pagar MRT station and had to take shelter at Amoy Street food centre. As I was standing there looking out at the heavy rain, there was only one thing I was wishing for at that moment – to get to Red Pig soonest so that I could have some makgeolli!

Yay, although I ain’t Korean, I’ve taken quite well to the idea of having makgeolli on rainy days, hee!

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Anyway, the rain let up some after some 20 minutes and I made the short dash and found myself standing in front of 93 Amoy Street. I heaved a sigh of relief as I saw that the place’s pretty much looking the same as before.

The Red Pig signboard’s still there, the familiar red walls are still intact…. and oh, the rain didn’t keep people away; Red Pig was bustling with people when I stepped in last night!

That was a good sign. I interpreted it as a sign that good quality’s still there.

As I made my way inside, I saw the familiar face of a staff who had been working at Red Pig. She saw me and came over to the entrance. We greeted each other and she asked me if I had made reservations. I said ‘no’ and that I needed a table for two.

She told me that the new system is that customers with reservations will be seated downstairs and walk-ins will be seated upstairs. As she led me upstairs, she told me that there’s been a change of management, but the menu’s still the same.

Indeed! Everything’s still there, and prices are still the same!

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First things first… gotta order the most-important thing! Oh well, at least that felt like the most important thing last night when we were sitting there, hee!

Ya, me likes my makgeolli with a teeny weeny bit of Sprite!

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And now, let’s check out the banchan (that’s side dishes in Korean!)

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The new owners of Red Pig have kept some, removed some, improvised on some and added some.

They’ve kept the kimchi and the radish. They’re removed the egg roll. The tofu and beansprout dishes taste different. I used to love love love these two, guess the improvised taste would take some getting used to. The tofu was a little salty last night and I thought the beansprout banchan was a lot more refreshing in the past without the added gochujang(?) sauce.

But oh boy, I loved the two new banchan they’d introduced! The squid banchan was yummylicious and the cucumber with meat banchan was mighty good too!

They had also kept the corn on a hotplate, but added peas and crabmeat. The taste’s different too. Still nice, but different.

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And oh, in case you’re also a regular at Red Pig and are wondering about it, seems like the new owners also decided to skip the hotplate of mushroom and sausage.

What about the BBQ meat? Coz it’s just Emz and I last night, we decided to skip the usual Red Pig and go for two servings of the soy chicken.

Hehe, I’m pleased to announce that it’s as good as before!!

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We also ordered the ramyeon, but hehe, guess you don’t need me to tell you how it was. After all, ramyeon is ramyeon is ramyeon.

But hor, I tell you arh….

there’s something superbly magical about sharing a bowl of piping hot ramyeon with a good friend on a rainy night!

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Guess we should all learn to be more positive and look at the brighter side of things.

Instead of lamenting over the departure of the previous Red Pig lady boss, guess we could be thankful that at least Wang Daebak took over and at least for now, Red Pig’s still standing.


Anyway, the night’s still early when we stepped out of Red Pig. To be honest, I was feeling really really, and I mean REALLY full after dinner, but hehe, we decided to go try out the new ice-cream place in my hood.

I had read about this little ice-cream place, The Milky Way, from DANIEL FOOD DIARY. My first thought was….. Wow, finally something hipsterish is happening in my hood!

And the next thing that I’d noted from the blog post was that ex-Campus Superstar Renfred Ng‘s behind The Milky Way! (photo’s lifted from DanielFoodDiary’s blog~)

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Read that the ice-cream’s all home-made and that they’d learnt the art of making these icy delights from a certain Italian gelato master in Singapore.

Wasn’t planning to blog about it, so I actually didn’t take ‘bloggable’ photos, sorrrrrry for the bad photos!!

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The old Tanglin Halt area is about as old and local as neighbourhoods get. Yes, you can even find old-school cake shops here, so don’t play play hor!

To be honest, I had thought that we would be the only customers there last night.

Emz thought otherwise though…. and turned out she was right. The little place was more than half filled when we got there at 9ish. And even as we were seated sipping our coffee and eating our ice-cream, people continued to stream into the shop.

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And oh, Renfred is the barista at The Milky Way, having cleared his advanced barista assessment a few months ago.

When we were there last night, he was really behind the counter busying with the coffee machine most part of the night. And yes, from what we could see last night, he made very single coffee ordered.

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The ice-cream selection ain’t big, about a dozen flavours or so. And yes, you can ask to sample different flavours before ordering.

Each scoop starts from $3 onwards. I had good old chocolate ($3) and Emz had gone for the strawberry cheesecake ($3.80)

And oh oh, you can also order waffles along with it, yippee! I love waffles and I do love their waffles! It’s got the right balance of crispiness on the outside and fluffiness on the inside! Nom nom!

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We also ordered long black, and the coffee’s not bad… I like that it ain’t too acidic. Goes nicely with the sweetness of the ice-cream!

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Me happy that there’s now an ice-cream place in my hood. And even happier that there’s a place to go for a cuppa and chill!

Hehe, I was so happy that I told my papa and mama about The Milky Way the moment I got home last night. Guess what’s the first question out of my mama’s mouth?

Yea, like most mothers… fwahwahwah, she had asked,

so how much huh?

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In case anyone’s interested, you can check out more on THE MILKY WAY’s WEBSITE or ITS FACEBOOK PAGE.


Things to Do in Korea: A Brow-Baring Post!

I suppose many people do know the importance of brows. Especially women.

Don’t believe me? Just check out THESE PHOTOS.


I know of girlfriends who would not step out of the house without coloring in their brows. But most would have discovered the convenience of tattooed eyebrows by now.

Thank God for technological advancements! Remember those days when eyebrow tattoos would turn a ghastly shade of greenish-gray after a few years? I’d even seen blue ones! I should be grateful I never thought to try those back in those days, so I never had weird-coloured eyebrows.


But that said, one of my (many! jinjja many!) complexes include my eyebrows. Or rather, more specifically, my lack of brows.

It’s actually kindda strange how someone like me with really really thick hair can end up with such sparse eyebrows.

To make things worse, my eyebrows were super hard to draw!

I once went to a professional salon when I was attending a very formal dinner do in Hong Kong many years back…. And after doing my hair, I moved on to do my makeup. Only to have the makeup artist struggle for what seemed like an eternity with my eyebrows!

It wasn’t so cheapo salon, mind you!

Yup, my brows are that tricky. For one, the brow bones are extremely unbalanced on each side. And then the brow bone of one side is such that it’s quite hard to create a nice shape. Sighs….

Yea, you don’t know my pain…


Anyway, I’ve had eyebrow tattoo for about almost a decade now.

But back then, K-pop and K-dramas weren’t so hot, and hence the influence of Korean beauty wasn’t as big. So most of us were following the rules of ‘Western concept’ beauty, complete with defined eyebrows with arches and nothing too bushy or natural-looking.

I guess you could also describe it is the ‘perpetually surprised look’. Really!! I’ve seen how high the arches are on some women’s brows that they’re forever looking like they’re shocked or something.


Here, check out my arches!

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Yea, I know, I know, my brows were too thin too.

But hey, 誰沒有過去?

And when you had not much to begin with, you really would be very wary about drawing and colouring in too thick and too much…


Then the whole Korean explosion thingy happened.

Ya, our medicine cabinets and vanity tables used to be full of Japanese or European beauty products, but these days, it would be hard not to see a Korean beauty item, right?

What with the popularity of K-pop and K-dramas, our definition of the perfect Asian beauty has also shifted. Yup, including the eyebrows.

I think the main points of the Korean beauty are porcelain skin that’s fair like snow, natural-looking eyebrows, eyeliner and soft, kissable lips.

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Yup, even our eyebrows have been ‘Koreanized’. So how do Korean eyebrows look like? Natural, even straight with no or not-so-high arches.

They like the youthful and innocent look, and it’s showing in their choice of brows! While I do think that Moon Geun Young’s brows are sometimes a little too dark and bushy, I think most of the female celebs in Korea have beautiful brows!

Check out THIS SUPER CUTE POST BY BONGQIUQIU where she photoshoppped Korean eyebrows onto celebrities, hee!


If you’re really curious about the differences between classic eyebrows and Korean eyebrows, you can also check out this fab video below. And oh, it also shows you how to draw Korean brows.


If watching vids ain’t your thing, you can also click HERE to check out the step-by-step tutorial to draw Korean brows. The blogger said it’s easy…. easy meh???

Believe me, it ain’t so easy if you ain’t got brows to begin with.


And now, people who know me would know that I like going to Japan and Korea. I’ve been to Japan seven times and Korea eleven times.

Ya, eleven times to Korea.

Hehe, it’s got to a point that I don’t even work out anything that resemble an itinerary when I go to Seoul. I don’t do touristy stuff much, and my trips to Seoul are really relaxed. I hardly rush anywhere, or pack too much in a day. It involves lots of checking out places to eat, chilling at cafes and just having easy days and looooong nights.

And oh, I do stuff that most tourists don’t do. Like getting my eyebrows done. I’d done this twice, hehe!

And fwahwahwah, amongst others, I’d even gone to the dentist there! All superb experience and I’m gonna continue checking these services out on my next trip!


Now back to brows…

I’d gone to CLARA’s last year, and it was a good experience. I had also done eyelash extension there too. And a friend tried her eyeliner tattoo service after getting her eyebrows done there and was happy with it.

But Clara works one-woman style in a SOHO environment, and her schedule’s really tight. Not easy to secure an appointment. And she’s somewhere near Jamsil, kindda far from where most of us typically stay when in Seoul. So maybe Clara’s not for everyone.


Back in May this year, I’d gone to Seoul again. Decided to check out NATURAL.B since they offer the 3D eyebrow embroidery service. This gives more natural brows since the technique uses feather strokes that look like hair even close-up.

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You can check out the before and after photos of their customers HERE.

The waiting area is quite small, but despite the size, the salon had attempted to create a comfortable space with a slight touch of luxe.

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And here, this was the ‘menu’ when I visited Natural.B back in May.

You can see that they have the usual eyebrow tattoo service and also the more natural-looking 3D embroidery type (but this is also lighter and may not be as lasting as the classic type). If you have oily skin, eyebrow tattoos also tend to be less lasting, regardless of the type of tattoo you go for.

And yup, they also offer eyeliner tattoo, lip colour tattoo.

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I had gone with two other friends. Two of us got the eyebrow cum eyeliner tattoo package and the other one only did her eyebrows.

Sorrrrry! I’ve forgotten how much it had cost, but hehe, for sure cheaper than in Singapore lah. For sure it’s below S$200 or thereabouts for the eyebrow tattoo.

As for our eyebrow cum eyeliner tattoo, I can’t remember how much it was exactly, but pretty sure it’s S$350 or so.


Both the eyebrow and eyeliner tattoo require two sessions.

The first session is the actual tattoo or embroidery session, and then you’re supposed to go back again in approximately 12-14 days’ time for them to touch-up or reshaping in case you’re not happy with the first round.

The process is pretty much what we have here in Singapore.

Once they’ve sat you down to go through the services you require and the prices, they will apply numbing balm rather generously over your brow area and then they’ll stick cellophane over your brow and forehead area. Then wait 15-20 minutes, and you’ll be ready!

Ya, you’ll be looking fairly silly…. like this!

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Wah… my eyebags…!!

We’d gone to get our brows done on our first day in Seoul after a red-eye flight. So yea, you can imagine how little sleep I had had before that. So don’t judge me ^o^

They’ll check with you what sort of brows you prefer, and then use eyebrow pencil to draw your preferred shape. Then you check the mirror and let them know if you’re happy with it, or want your brows longer, shorter, thicker, with a higher or lower arch, etc etc etc.

Once you’re happy with the drawn brows, they will get to work.

Here, have a look at where the actual tattoo work is done. No individual rooms, just beds separated by partitions.

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I wasn’t planning to blog about this, so I didn’t really take the ‘right’ photos to show. Haha, come to think of it, I had not reignited my blogging fire during my Seoul trip *oopsies!*

So… here’s a not-so-good photo of me and my ‘new’ brows. This was taken a few days after the first tattoo session. Sorry about the sunlight making my brows look like they’re half-gone! But I don’t have many solo photos of the days right after the tattoo.

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People are always curious about the pain factor.

Coz of the numbing balm they used, I didn’t really feel very severe or sharp pain. Cant’ say I didn’t feel it at all though. I’d say the eyebrow tattoo is very, very bearable and just a teeny weeny bit uncomfortable.

And the downtime for the 3D eyebrow embroidery is practically zero! This is unlike the classic eyebrow tattoo where I had to walk around looking like 藍筆小新 for quite a few days!


But I had problem with the eyeliner tattoo.

It wasn’t painful, but it was EXTREMELY SCARY to me! I mean, just imagine having a very sharp object running across your eyeline, like really really close to your eye.

I just couldn’t really handle the thought or image of having the needle or blade thingy running so closely to my eyes…. that my eyes kept twitching!

The beautician had to really pull and tug at my eyes to steady whilst running the gadget on my eyeline. If she wasn’t careful or if she didn’t have steady hands, the eyeliner could end up all zigzaggy!

But I just could not control my eyelids from twitching. It was the longest 15(?) minutes of my life!!

imageI couldn’t bring myself to go through it the second time around… and this is something that I still regret today!

I should have been braver and gone ahead with it! After all, it didn’t hurt, and it was just uncomfortable.

And it’s over even before you can finish one exciting episode of SONG JAE RIM x KIM SO EUN ON WE GOT MARRIED!

Hee, you see, I quite like the eyeliner effect, and I regret choosing to do such a thin one.

Ah, guess I’ll just have to wait till the next trip!


So there, this is one of the many un-touristy things that I do when I’m in Seoul, and I highly recommend it!

The Koreans really have the natural eyebrow game down to a perfect pat, and instead of paying such high prices to get ‘em done in Singapore, you might as well do it when you’re holidaying in Seoul next!


UPDATED 2014.11.23
Oopsies, a few readers wrote to me to say that the link to the Natural.B contact details ain’t working. Sorry! I’ve fixed the link.

Anyway, HERE it is!

네츄럴비 약도- 신림역 3번 출구 ( 파리 바게트 와 던킨도너츠) 사잇길로
들어오시면 삼모 프라임 오피스텔 있습니다~~
꼭 오피스텔로 들어오시기 바랍니다~~
오시기전에 전화 주세요~~
네츄럴비는 100% 예약제 입니다~~
Tel: 82-2-889-2100

You can get to Natural.B from Sillim subway station, Exit 3. I think they don’t accept walk-in, so please call them for reservation and also to get the exact address.

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